The Libyan National Army (LNA), the self-styled forces of Eastern Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar, rejected on Sunday the ceasefire announced on Friday by the UN-backed government of Libya and the east-based rival administration, dismissing the proposal for truce as a "marketing" stunt.
If the ceasefire deal fails, renewed battles between rivaling factions could push back the reopening of Libya's oil terminals and resumption of oil exports, which have been under blockade since January.
The UN-backed government of Libya announced a ceasefire on Friday, and the east-based rival administration had also called for a truce in a move that would have paved the way to reopening Libya's oil terminals, if the ceasefire holds.
Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of the Libyan UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) has "issued instructions to all military forces to immediately cease fire and all combat operations in all Libyan territories," the GNA said at the time.
"The initiative that al-Sarraj signed is for media marketing," Ahmed Mismari, spokesman for the LNA, said, as carried by Al Jazeera.
According to the LNA spokesman, the GNA and the forces supporting it are preparing to target Haftar's forces in Sirte, a crucial military position and a city that is the gateway to Libya's oil facilities.
"If al-Sarraj wanted a ceasefire, he would have drawn his forces back, not advanced towards our units in Sirte," Mismari said.
If the proposed truce does not hold, Sirte could become an instant battleground of regional forces, pitting Egypt military, Russian mercenaries, and Haftar's LNA (with UAE weaponry) against Turkish forces, Syrian and other mercenaries, and the Libyan GNA.
If the Libyan conflict escalates after a potential failure in the ceasefire, Libya's oil could continue to be cut off from the international markets. This will help the global supply glut at a time of fragile demand recovery, but for Libya, it will further complicate the prospects of recovery of its oil industry.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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